DJ Quik – Quik is the Name (January 15, 1991)

220px-Quik_Is_the_Name

I’ve had this in my collection for years, but some how when creating my spreadsheet I missed this one (and I’m sure as we continue this trip a few more will pop up that I overlooked). For those keeping track at home put this on right before Gang Starr’s Step in the Arena as this was released on the same day.

I remember being in 8th grade when today’s album came out. For some reason in 1991 twelve and thirteen year old kids were walking the halls of Susan B. Anthony Jr. High with pacifiers dangling from their mouths and filling up baby bottles with juice and water. We were young people going through growing pains physically and mentally but for one reason or another reverting back to acting babies. Maybe it was more rebelling than reverting. But I digress.

NWA put Compton on the map in the late eighties which opened the door for other acts (such as Compton’s Most Wanted) to represent (remember how over used that term was back in the day?) the CPT. David Blake, better known to the world as DJ Quik, created a buzz in the late eighties on the strength of his now legendary mix tape (at a time when mixed tapes were literally on tape) “The Red Tape” (not to be confused with The Game’s The R.E.D. Album), which was Quik’s way of pledging allegiance to the notorious LA Bloods which he has been open about being affiliated with for years. The labels got word of the mixed tape and Quik eventually signed with Priority (according to Quik he was the first artist to sign a 6 figure deal with the label) releasing his debut album Quik Is the Name in January of 1991. Quik Is the Name which was completely written and produced by Quik, was a commercial successful (as it was certified gold four months after its release and eventually platinum) and received favorable reviews from critics.

Let listen to the debut album of (in my opinion) one of the most underrated producers in hip-hop history.

Sweet Black Pussy – Our host doesn’t waste anytime with an intro, or start things off boasting about how dope he is on the mic or where he’s from. Instead, over a bouncy instrumental, the horny nineteen year old starts thing off telling the world how much he loves pussy. Specifically of the sweet black variety.

Tonite – This was the second single released from Quik Is the Name. Over a smooth instrumental (that includes samples from Kleeer’s song with the same song title (only spelled correctly) and Betty Wright’s “Tonight Is The Night”) Quik relives a weekend filled with chicks, weed, drinking and partying. This song is over 20 years old but it goes down just as smooth as it did the first time I heard it.

Born And Raised In Compton – This is the song that put Quik on the map. Quik samples a portion of Isaac Hayes’ “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” as source material for this funky instrumental. Certified banger. Classic.

Deep – Quik invites his homies D and KK from 2nd II None and AMG to join in on this cypher joint. Not great, but serviceable.

Tha Bombudd – Over a reggae-tinged instrumental Quik chants this ode to the bomb bomb weed.

Dedication – I remember this instrumental blowing my mind the first time I heard it back in the day. With the exception of Dre (as in the good doctor), sonically no one was making stuff like this. While the east coast had a grimier sound, Dre and Quik were pioneering a cleaner/smoother brand of hip-hop. Quik and friends use this one to shoutout all their peeps that passed away. This instrumental is still a monster.

Quik is the Name – The title song was the third and final single from the album. Quik’s line “I won’t compare my rhyme style to no gat, because to me that bullshit is super wack” sounds like a shot fired at somebody. If I was a betting man I’d said it was aimed at MC Eiht as he often compared his rhymes to guns, and the beef between those two was well documented. I love the cutting on the ones and twos during the chorus.

Loked Out Hood – This one kind of reminds me of Spice 1’s “187 Proof”. Not that “Loked Out Hood” is a story about different types of liquor, but Quik’s instrumental and story telling style sounds similar.  This is about as gangster as Quik would sound on Quik Is the Name, and compared to his contemporaries (i.e. NWA, Compton’s Most Wanted) this could be used on a Nick Jr. TV show.

8 Ball – Quik’s ode to the 40z of Old English aka “that liquid courage”.

Quik’s Groove – To ensure that the listener’s mind gets blown without interruption, Quik brings back the instrumental from “Dedication”, extends its, removes the shoutouts and lets it ride out all by itself.

Tear It Off – Our host invites AMG back to the booth for this duet. Quik speeds up the pace of his instrumental a few bpm’s and both emcees do a decent job keeping up with its frantic pace.

I Got That Feelin’ – Quik’s soulful instrumental borrows from an old Emotions’ joint as he slows things down a bit to put his mack game down.

Skanless –  Quik invites his whole crew (2nd II None, AMG, and Hi-C) into the booth to close out the album. I remember I use to quote this song line for line back in the day, and even after all these years Hi-C’s line “I got your fat pregnant bitch on my waterbed, I’m about to bust a nut on your little baby’s head” is sill hi-larious after all these years. None of the emcees spit memorizing rhymes, but instead its a bunch of young men spitting raunchy juvenile lines and having a good time over a slick Quik instrumental. Nice way to end the album.

1991 is arguably the best year in hip-hop as a lot of really dope albums were released. With so much quality wax being birthed Quik Is the Name is one that often gets forgotten (as I even forgot to include it in my original list when starting this blog). There is no doubt that Quik is a better producer than an emcee. Quik won’t make you hit the rewind button with his lyricism, but he manages to hold your attention with playful lines about women, weed, weather and gangsta shit delivered in his signature nasally high pitched vocal.  Sonically his layered production was a head of its time. There were other producers that used layered samples (i.e. The Dust Brothers, Bomb Squad, etc.), but Quick used live instrumentation (or synthesizer) underneath his samples, giving his instrumentals a cleaner sound opposed to his east coast counter parts dustier feel. Quik Is the Name is not the best album of 91′ but it definitely deserves more respect than it normally gets.

-Deedub

 

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